Jun 11, 2014

Font Fanatics

6/11/2014 — cori
The other evening we had a friend over for dinner.  This friend was lamenting his font woes with Chuck.  Being that both are Designers, they could talk about fonts for hours.  Friend was frustrated with the font choices he was allowed to use at his job.  This spearheaded a serious font discussion by all at the table.  The kids each piped in with, "Well, maybe you should try (this) font...".  Friend was amazed number one, that the kids even knew what 'font' meant and number two, that they even knew the names of several fonts.

Oh ya.  We're that family.  We have serious font opinions. Chuck feels so strongly about fonts that he even has a whole blog post devoted to the subject matter at hand.  How could you be a child of Chuck, sit under his tutelage and not walk away with an insider's information about fonts and the images they project?

Since we piqued Friend's interest, he took the bait and asked what each of our favorite fonts were.  For the interest of the story, I shall write these fonts in a different format and post them as a png on my blog - otherwise you would have no clue what "Proxima Nova" looked like and would not get the deeper meaning of this incredibly deep blog post.
Doesn't that just help explain so much!  Each person's personality is perfectly represented by their font choice.  A font tells a reader more than you ever imagined.  I'll let you read into our personalities how ever you choose. 

Jun 7, 2014

Summer Vacation - Day 1

6/07/2014 — cori
We have been out of school exactly 1 whole day and life couldn't get much better.  Well...it is about to because we're fixin to go on a real, road-trip vacation pretty soon, but I mean, as far as life is concerned, summer vacation is about as good as it gets.  I just love having my kids home from school!  I miss them so much when they're gone.  I love the carefree, come what may, fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants kind of days that summer brings.

Our very first day was no exception.  We were able to help out a friend who had a last minute trip come up and asked if we could watch their 2 year old daughter for the day.  It was as if  I had the gift of being transported back in time with my own kids.  She was SO MUCH FUN!  I felt like I got to re-live my kids at 2 again.  But this time, my kids got to experience it along with me.

Meet Tenley and her two favorite admirers.  Chloe and Bennett couldn't get enough of her.  They even sat outside my bedroom door when I put her down for her nap and listened to her talk to her stuff animals.  Bennett kept asking me if he could go wake her up so he could play with her some more.  She brought the fun curiosity and unexpectedness of a toddler into the house and kept us in stitches laughing all day.  I'd say that was a pretty fun way to start off summer vacation.

As Chloe and Bennett entertained Tenley, Gavin was hard at work on his computer tapping away.  He has decided to take an online Harvard Extension course, Intro to Computer Science since he wants to learn programming but wasn't sure which language he wanted to learn first.  He recently taught himself a little Java in order to make some Minecraft Mods (whatever that means), which were super important to him.  Then he moved on to creating his own servers so he and his friends could connect and play the same mods (again...not sure what that means, but I know I couldn't do it, so I was impressed he figured out a way).  Finally he decided that he would put his Chromebook laptop computer to better use and decided to download the Linux Operating System onto it.  No one told or showed him how.  He just troubleshooted for hours until, voila! there it was, operating on his computer.  I asked him why he did it and he said in bigger words than I repeating, "Because it can run programs that are desktop based; my other operating system couldn't do that."  Alrighty then.

How does your kid wake up one day and just understand the world in a whole different way and on a whole deeper level than you?  He speaks a tech language that I don't understand.  He has found his niche and can't learn enough fast enough.  I admire him greatly.  I love his determination and perseverance during this process of growth.   I also am endeared to my Daily Gavin Factoids.  I love the random facts that spew from his mouth at any time of the day or night.  He ensures that I learn something new each and every day. 

In order to ensure that we enjoy this wonderful break from school to its fullest, we felt that we should let the kids know what our expectations were.  The kids have always felt happier and safer knowing where their boundaries were.  As they mature, more and more of the rules fall by the wayside and it's not so much us 'controlling' them, but us teaching them to make wise choices and control themselves. But in all fairness, we have to disclose our expectations, just in a way that doesn't feel controlling to them.  As long as they live with us, we still have the awesome opportunity to teach them how to be caring, responsible, loving, hard working adults.  Hard to do!  

Chuck came up with the following:

1. Wake up before 9am. We've always been a house of early risers. We like to get to places early.  But as the kids are entering adolescence we now have people that love (and need) to sleep late.  So we had to cap the sleeping in at 9am so we could still have some morning left to enjoy.

2. Do what you have to do before you do what you want to do.   This has always been our rule in regards to chores.  Chores always come first.  If someone comes to see if they can play, we ask if they have done what they have to do first.  If the answer is 'yes', they can play, if not, they know to finish their responsibilities.  This will serve them well in life. (We borrowed this phrase from the movie The Great Debaters).

3.Write down your goals/daily rhythm.  Our people love schedules.  Sometimes it's hard for them to be spontaneous.  But sometimes it's also hard to remember exactly what you want to do each day.  Having them write down their own summer goals and expectations helps them own this.  If Gavin wants to finish his online course this summer, this little written reminder will help him instead of give him the excuse, "oh, I forgot."  And it keeps me from nagging and reminding them.

4. Spend time outside each day. Gavin especially can easily get caught up in his computer work and learning and the whole day can slip by being caught up in what he truly enjoys.  But summer is about being outside, getting plenty of sun and fresh air.  He set his own personal limit on his computer time and we trust him to abide by that.  My people aren't huge tv or movie watchers, so being outside comes easy for us most of the time.

5. Do something for someone else every day.  Learning to be others focused is hard.  May as well start now because it takes a lifetime to learn.  It's easy to see our own needs, it's hard to see someone elses. 

6. Govern yourself.   In other words: we are trusting you to make good choices.  If you choose to have cookies with lunch, don't eat the whole bag, take what you feel is an adequate amount.  We will not always be around to set limits for you.  We know you will fail, but we know you will learn from those failures.  Self-control is another lesson that takes a lifetime to learn.

Let the summer fun begin!

Jun 4, 2014

Dinner Guests

6/04/2014 — cori
      Michio Kaku

The other night Chuck and I were talking about who we would invite to dinner if we could invite anyone from any time in history or in the modern era, dead or alive.  It's a pseudo dinner afterall - so we don't have to worry about little details like death or if we can even speak the same language.  Those assumptions just don't exist.  Naturally, we would understand each other, differences in language aside and apparently dead people live and breath and talk again in our pseudo dinner world.  The only other parameter would be that obviously, our whole family would already be at the dinner party, so we wouldn't need to invite each other and Jesus is the most obvious first guest, so he's also a given...he'll just hang around for each party with us.

It was so much fun, I decided to ask the kids who they would want to invite.  I didn't realize the mental anguish this would cause.  True to form, he can't commit to any one thing specifically.  I mean, this list is a permanent, personal representation of who you are at the very core - you MUST make it count. This is official - it's going in the record books.  There's no turning back now. This morning Gavin gives me the following list of invitees:
  • Michio Kaku  
  • A King from the Middle Ages  
  • A Japanese Samurai  
  • An Egyptian Pharaoh   
But upon further review during this evening's dinnertime conversation (and being forced to pick actual people with names instead of generic titled people), his list changed to:
  • Michio Kaku (a theoretical physicist)
  • Bruce Lee
  • Vechs (of YouTube fame for his Minecraft tutorials)
  • Leonardo DaVinci
Same thing happened with Bennett.  His earlier choices were:
  • Ben Franklin
  • Michael Jordan
  • Dirk Nowitzki 
  • Thomas Edison
His reasoning went as followed, "Ben Franklin was just a boss and so was Michael Jordan.  Dirk Nowitzki is Clutch and Thomas Edison, well, I love his quote 'I haven't failed, I've just learned 100 ways not to do something.'" Then something changed his mind during dinnertime and he retracted two people to be replaced with two others:
  • Ben Franklin
  • Michael Jordan
  • MLK jr.
  • Bob Goff
This morning, Chloe wanted to invite:
  • MLK jr.
  • Mother Teresa
  • Brynn 
  • Cara
The last two names are the 7 & 5 year old neighbor girls who live across the street from us.  She also back-pedaled, uninvited the neighbor girls and MLK (since he's going to be at Bennett's party) and issued an invitation to a couple of other people she feels are more deserving:
  • Gabby Douglas
  • Mother Teresa
  • Barbara Park (of the Junie B. Jones fame)
  • Saba - The Ethiopian Princess
Chuck's humble list included:
  • Dirk Nowitzki
  • Brian Regan (our favorite comedian)
  • Mel Blanc (the voice guy for all the Loony Toons characters)
  • C.S. Lewis
Everyone recited my list to me, apparently I'm an open book.  But no one got the last name on my list. For years I would have said it was Michael Jordan (and if I could invite 5 people, he'd definitely be on my top 5 list), but alas, I came up with someone more intriguing than even Michael (if you can imagine such a thing).
  • MLK jr.
  • Gandhi
  • Mother Teresa
  • Abraham Lincoln
Don't even get me started on authors I'd like to invite.  I don't think I could host a party that big.  How are you supposed to narrow that list down?  And there are many ordinary, every day people that no one knows that I think are awesome people and would like to have a party of just 'regular awesome people' too.  So, as you can see, we are going to be quite busy with all our dinner guests coming up.

Jun 2, 2014

10 Years Old - Happy Birthday Blog!!!

6/02/2014 — cori
Ten years ago Chuck kept encouraging me to start a blog (whatever that was).  I was just fine writing down all my stories and memories in my convenient little spiral notebooks, thank you very much.  I actually found one of my pre-blog notebooks not too long ago and we had a blast reading through it. But then Chuck went and did what he always does, he made me something.  He is just so creative, how can I ever say no to him.  He created my first blog, got me all set up and just pointed me in the right direction and told me to start writing.

I have quite an affinity for paper and pencil.  I had an internal struggle in regards to loyalty and my little notebook.  But then when I saw the ease with which my fingers flew over the keyboard, I was hooked. I could write the same story 10x faster on the computer than I could handwriting it (in my speediest, messiest, sometimes illegible hand).  Time was of the essence for me back then. I have not looked back since.  I thank Chuck all the time for designing my first blog and giving me an outlet to write.  I didn't even know how much I enjoyed writing back then.  I was literally just trying to stay afloat.  This is what we looked like 10 years ago:

Bennett (2), Chloe (2mos.), Me (31), Gavin (5)

Bennett (12), Chloe (10), Me (41), Gavin (15)

Gavin (5), Chuck (31), Chloe (10), Bennett (2)

Gavin (15), Chuck (41), Chloe (10), Bennett (12)

By staying afloat I mean, I was just trying to survive each day with the demands that come with a toddler, newborn and a very active, talkative, inquisitive 5 year old.  The blog became my outlet.  It helped me see all the things happening around me in a humorous light when I would have been tempted to become emotionally overdrawn.  It helped me keep time and circumstances in perspective. It helped me still be me when it was easy to get swallowed up being 'mommy' 24 hours a day.  

We could have never imagined the direction our lives would take 10 years later to lead us to where we are today.  3 states later; 5 houses later; 6 jobs later, too many road trips to count later....what a beautiful, incredible, awesome, amazing journey I've gotten to take with my absolute favorite people!

Chopped - Revised

6/02/2014 — cori
Nana recently came to hang out with the kids while Chuck and I were in Heaven.  They all said their time was filled with games and laughter...and lots of food.  Sounds just like Nana.  Nana loves to cook! So it makes sense that on her last night with us, we play Chopped.  I don't know if it's actually a real game, but we sure like to make it one.  We didn't video it this go around.  Pictures will have to suffice. And we revised our original rules.  The whole fun part of the 'game' is the opportunity to cook each round.  So in order to find the winner, we each gave a numerical vote to each dish, the higher the number, the higher the score.  The high score wins.  So, technically, no one got chopped until the end - but for our family, it was much more fun, filling and exciting this way.  Oh ya, and it was our dinner, so we each took a bite out of each plate made.  We were eating dinner for almost 2 hours that night. Another one for the memory books.

Chuck presenting the contestants with the 'basket' ingredients.

Bennett's dessert.  Still don't know what the brown side consisted of.

Chloe's dessert creation.

Nana's scrumptious dessert bite.

Gavin's creative and delicious dessert.

The Winner!

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